A good time was had by all at the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff Thursday, November 11. City officials held a tree lighting ceremony to celebrate the beginning of Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic on the Anakeesta Plaza. Festival goers enjoyed free, live entertainment by The Warman Trio and country music star and Grand Ole Opry Member Mark Wills. 

Area businesses offered creative chili dishes, desserts and festive booth decorations ranging from mermaids to sunflowers to pirates. Vendors included: Cookie Dough Bliss, Puckers Grill & Bar, Cliff Top at Anakeesta, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg, Crawdaddy’s Restaurant, Sensible Concrete/D&S Builders, Flapjacks Pancake Cabin, Smokehouse at Anakeesta, Gatlinburg Landshark Bar & Grill, Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina, Savannah Bee Company, Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, Gatlinburg Police & Fire, Gatlinburg Rotary Club and Pi Beta Phi PTA. 

“The competition at this year's Chili Cookoff was really intense. The quality and creativity of the chili was very good,” says Marci Claude, Gatlinburg CVB Public Relations Manager. “The variety of ingredients included traditional Fritos, jalapeños and cheese to surprising moonshine, silver dollar pancakes and an edible oregano flavored spoon.”

Chili Vendors competed for top honors in four categories: Best Booth Decorations, Best Dessert, Best Chili – Judge’s Choice and Best Chili – People’s Choice.  Those taking home top honors are listed below. 


Best Booth Decorations

1st  Savannah Bee Company

2nd Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

3rd Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg


Best Dessert

1st Savannah Bee Company

2nd Cookie Dough Bliss


Judges Choice – Best Chili

1st Ole Smoky Moonshine

2nd Gatlinburg Police & Fire

3rd Smokehouse at Anakeesta


People’s Choice – Best Chili

1st Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

2nd Ole Smoky Moonshine

3rd Gatlinburg Police & Fire


View photos of the event and chili winners on Facebook here